Nicole Cifra (2016)
graphite, 9″ x 11″
I started getting involved in art when I was in the seventh grade. I had a wonderful teacher who made learning art more mathematical and scientific, which resonated with me. I continued to draw through high school and college, participating in art shows and selling work here and there.
Upon beginning medical school, however, my art took on a whole new purpose. As I was memorizing structures of various organ systems, I would find myself sketching quite frequently to make 2D sketches out of the 3D structures from anatomy. As a visual learner, I found this helpful academically. As an artist, I found it rewarding to be able to interpret the beauty I was studying.
When I started neuroanatomy, I was fascinated by the brain. However, I found it difficult to keep track of where structures were spatially when there were so many different ways to dissect them. To help myself study, I drew a coronal section alongside an intact hemisphere so I could better appreciate the structures in relationship to one another.
When I spend any amount of time creating a piece of artwork, I retain it more quickly, as if my hands translate it into my memory. I’ll always be thankful for that teacher that helped me bridge the gap others had placed in my mind between art and science.